airdate: 3 Oct 2000.
This episode came out on my 18th birthday! Who was the "real me" back then? Well, I was a willing doormat girlfriend. A senior in high school. My BFF had recently dropped out. I was a little pudgy, mostly antisocial, angry for the first time in my life, newly vegetarian...I can safely state that I feel a lot better about life now, 12.5 years later. Yeay! On with the episode...
Giles is guiding Buffy on some meditation/fighting techniques. It's all calm and peaceful and Buffy is balancing on one hand until Dawn knocks some crystals over. Remember, this is only the second shot with Dawn and nothing has yet been explained except that Buffy acts annoyed with her and we know they are sisters somehow. Dawn is all angsty writing in her diary. If this were today, she'd be all angsty writing in her blog and getting tons of reinforcement online from peers that are also all angsty writing in their blogs. In this way, I think things have improved...of course teenagers were being angsty on LiveJournal (I was a teenager being angsty on LiveJournal) already back in 2000. How many times can I write the word angsty which Blogger doesn't think is a word so it's all dotty-underlined in red, alerting me to the number of times I've used it: 6, in case you were wondering...
Anyway, I think the 14-year-old Dawns of today may, hopefully, have the opportunity to let out some of that angst on Tumblr and stuff...and feel less alone, etc. Giles doesn't like driving an automatic; "I loathe this sitting here, not contributing!" I feel the same way, Giles. That's why I always go with a manual.
Everyone is annoyed with, or pretty much ignores, Dawn except Tara and Willow. They're on their way to the Magic Box (magic shop) when they find it dark and the shopkeeper is dead inside. A crazy guy outside the shop tells Dawn she doesn't "belong here". Giles is all interested in the shop because of the "profit margins". A unicorn valued at 12.95 is missing from a case and Giles says, "What kind of an unholy creatures fancies cheap, tasteless statuary?"
Harmony. She's planning to kill Buffy with her "minions", a bunch of clueless vampires. They're the ones that robbed the magic shop and killed the shopkeeper for Harmony.
Dawn has a crush on Xander...wonder if Joss knew at this point that they would be together later in the comics. If so, ew. Willow is moving in with Tara...already? Tramp. Tara is explaining how she feels like an outsider, empathizes with Dawn. Buffy is jealous of Dawn, Dawn is jealous of Buffy. Harmony is so pretty. Xander and Harmony fight when Dawn accidentally invites her in.
"Real Me" is primarily about Dawn who is not real, but also Harmony who is not totally real as a vampire and also Buffy who is not totally real because she's a Slayer. Or something. Maybe? A play on a few of the females' mystical nature. Dawn gets herself kidnapped after throwing a fit and going outside. Buffy goes to beat up Spike for information, maybe the first time she's done that since the chip. Ooh, they upped the budget on vampire dustings. Buffy uses a unicorn horn to slay, which was fun.
Giles buys the magic shop. Buffy: How bored were you last year? Giles: I watched "Passions" with Spike...let us never speak of it.
Commentary (by David Fury and David Grossman) notes added 5.12.13: They wrote Dawn younger than she is because she was originally going to be 9. It totally explains he supreme annoyingness, but I wish they would have fixed that aspect of the writing. They just said they can't hear the audio of what they're watching. See? that's how it should be for the viewers too! This is a pretty boring commentary. They don't remember much about many of the scenes, etc. Ugh, they ALWAYS talk about how Sarah doesn't like to laugh onscreen. She does it well in the scene in this episode, but it undermines her performance to hear the writers and directors talking about her reluctance to do it CONSTANTLY.
I never realized that all of the top three (Xander, Willow, and actually Buffy) are only children. This commentary is borrrrrrring. They're sometimes just being completely silent and alternating between that and explaining plot points as they're trying to guess what's going on because they don't remember the episode at all, apparently. Should I cut out now? Yeah, I think so. Onward to season 4!